2016-10-17 – Last month Hillary Clinton was criticized for saying that “you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.”
This ignited a short-lived firestorm. Short-lived because it is basically true. Short lived because Donald Trump knocked this story off of page one with a new outrage of his own.
The problem with this story is that the media totally ignored the other “half” of Trump’s supporters, which Hillary described in some detail:
But the other basket — and I know this because I see friends from all over America here — I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas — as well as, you know, New York and California — but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.
It now looks like Donald Trump is going down to flaming defeat. Maybe yes. Maybe no. But, if he does, who becomes the next champion for these folks?
The truth is, Donald Trump hasn’t been much of a champion, except in one respect: he’s awaken us to the suffering of these people. They live in small towns and rural areas where the main corporate employers have moved offshore—or have been run out of business by big-box retailers like Wal-Mart. Their children can’t move to the cities because cities are too expensive and they can’t go to college or a trade school because they can’t afford it. Trump posed as a champion for these people, but he has no plans.
It starts with rebuilding America’s infrastructure. It starts with a plan for expanded national service. It starts with an effort to attack drug addiction. It starts with plans to make higher education affordable. And more.
And here’s the interesting thing. Much in her economic plans that would benefit small town and rural American to rebuild the middle class would benefit Americas inner cities—which suffer from many of the same problems.
Hillary is in a position to transcend the racism that has infected the nation as reflected in this year’s campaign—with programs that benefit Trump’s “other basket” as well as urban poor and people of color.
These groups are natural allies. They are taught to be enemies. They don’t take from each other, but are both abused by elites.
By raising Trump’s constituents with her own, Hillary will be making us Stronger Together.